France had been warned about the “imminent” Paris attacks, senior Iraqi intelligence officers have claimed on conditions of anonymity.
According to a report by the Associated Press, France’s security agencies were informed about a series of bombings and even a hostage-taking situation on Thursday, a day before Paris was rocked by multiple shootings and explosions, which left more than 120 people dead and a further 300 people wounded in its wake.
When a senior security official from France was approached to either confirm or deny the claims, he said that French intelligence got this kind of communication “all the time” and “every day.” Though it is difficult to gauge the immediate effect the revelation will have in the wider context, it does bring a hugely pertinent question into play: could the Paris attacks have been avoided?
The report suggests that Iraqi officials had not only discussed an “imminent attack” on French soil in a dispatch they sent to French intelligence agencies, but had also confirmed the number of attackers that might be involved in the deadly ordeal. In the dispatch, the report says, it was mentioned that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had ordered an attack on coalition countries fighting against them in Iraq and Syria, as well as on Iran and Russia, “through bombings or assassinations or hostage taking in the coming days.”
In total, six Iraqi security officials corroborated the information in the dispatch, with two officials saying that France was also told about the numerous details that French authorities have not yet made public.
It is likely France would not release the information, considering that it might lead to a public outrage, but also because it might still contain details about more attacks planned by the Islamic State.